Woman With Asperger’s Is Closing…Sorta.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has visited, left comments on, engaged with me at, shared content from, or otherwise has supported the Woman With Asperger’s blog.

It has become apparent over the last few months that I need to move on to a different phase of my life in terms of activism and writing. In the last six months, my understanding of neurodiversity has broadened. More opportunities (thanks be to God) have presented themselves — including editing the Summer 2014 Issue of Red Wolf Journal, pursuing MFA studies (which begin this July), and the genesis of the neurodivergent literary journal Barking Sycamores, which I founded in February 2014 and which my fiancé and I together edit and produce.

With that in mind, I have decided to put Woman With Asperger’s on a semi-permanent hiatus. I am doing this because I no longer have time to devote to maintaining this blog as frequent as in time past. Additionally I have not been able to adequately reply to comments and answer the many questions readers have posed to me in the last year.

I will leave Woman With Asperger’s up and running. I want the blog posts to remain as a testament to my journey, and I will occasionally post here. However, over the next few months there will be several changes:

  1. I will be revamping the pages in various ways, including overhauling the language to make it more neurodiversity-friendly.
  2. Comments will be closed on older posts.
  3. Comments on newer posts (June 2014 and later) will remain open until 30 days after the date of first posting.

 In his poem “The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost spoke of the need for choices — namely, to decide which road you will travel. And this is sometimes a difficult and painful decision. Like the speaker in his poem, I am “sorry I could not travel both” of the roads before me. My choice is to travel the road of poetry and activism through art.

The journey during which I began to understand what it means to be autistic has been a challenging, rewarding, and at times fun journey over the last four years. And it will not end, my friends. You are welcome to join me over at Raven’s Wing Poetry and to see our baby — the little neurodivergent poetry journal — grow and come of age at Barking Sycamores.

Thank you all, again, for all of your support.

-Nicole

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Day of Mourning 2014: Remembering People with Disabilities Murdered by Caregivers

On March 1, a worldwide day of mourning will be held for people with disabilities murdered by caregivers. There will be both public vigils (in various cities) and an online vigil beginning at 3:00 PM EST.

Please consider attending tomorrow’s vigils, online or in person. Let’s not forget Alex Spourdalakis, Vincent Phan, Tamiyah Audain, Matthew Hafer…and that is a short list of this year’s causalities alone.

Life is sacred, and the loss of these people’s lives needs to be remembered. Let them not go, unforgotten, into that good night.

For the online vigil: https://sites.google.com/site/pwddayofmourning2014/

For a list of public vigils: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2014/02/day-of-mourning-2014-2/

-Nicole

Introducing Barking Sycamores!

Barking Sycamores is a new literary journal that just went live yesterday and will begin publishing on April 1, 2014. We’re accepting submissions now and will be publishing on a continual basis.

What we are: Barking Sycamores is a poetry journal whose primary mission is to publish poems by emerging and established neurodivergent writers . We also seek to add positively to the public discussion about neurodivergence in the form of essays on autism and poetics, with special emphasis on its interplay with the creative process.

For poetry: We seek poems that are breathtakingly beautiful, startling, sparkling, or imbued with color. We like poems that surprise us in some way; poems that perform an act of alchemy — i.e. transforming the ordinary into gold; poems that convey a vision of reality which is different than the expected or commonplace; poems that might cleanse the “doors of perception”, as William Blake put it. We particularly adore poems with a strong voice, a strong narrative, or bold, concrete imagery. We do have a preference for free verse poetry; however, we will accept poetry written in traditional forms.

For autism and poetics essays: We seek work that uses strong facts and/or well-documented observations to support a solid thesis statement. We are particularly interested in essays about:

  • how neurologically divergent traits aid in the creation of poetry;
  • neurological divergent traits that might cause a poet to break common rules and conventions in poetry (and do this well);
  • how a neurological divergent individual might use the creative arts (especially poetry) to express him/her/zirself when ordinary communication means do not suffice;
  • how an author’s work might reveal his/her/zir neurological divergence.

Main site: http://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/
Submission Guidelines: http://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/
About: http://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/about/

#LoveNotFear Flashblog Event Today

Greetings, WWA readers!

Today is the #LoveNotFear flashblog event in which autistics, family, friends, and allies are invited to share their thoughts on what the statement “love not fear” means to each of us. The event is a creation of the Boycott Autism Speaks movement. I’ve chosen to participate to help indeed spread love, and not fear, and thus help promote a greater and better understanding of autism.

I’m sharing a poem for this event, “The Sky Belongs to All of Us”, which is up at my Raven’s Wing Poetry blog and the #LoveNotFear blog will also be publishing many fine write-ups by autistics and their allies today on this theme.

Speaking of which…for a very long time, I have felt that my best way of self-advocating as well as promoting understanding, not to mention the very act of activism in and of itself, is through my art. I am a poet — I speak best in verse. Some of you may have noticed that I have not posted very much here at Woman With Asperger’s for a while. My art is taking over my life, and in a way that’s a good thing.

I will be making a public announcement in more details about my plans for Woman With Asperger’s in the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy the articles and things that are here, and please keep commenting! I will try my best to respond soon.

-Nicole

Boycott Autism Speaks!

Bitstrips comic: #Twitter bomb time for Autism Speaks...which does not speak for Nicole.

Bitstrips comic: #Twitter bomb time for Autism Speaks…which does not speak for Nicole.

If you haven’t heard, there is a massive boycott of Autism Speaks! Many of you already know why Autism Speaks is a problem, but now there is organized action. Today, December 9, there is a #Twitter bomb activism action against Autism Speaks and their corporate supporters. For more info, go to Boycott Autism Speaks or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Today is Autistics Speaking Day.

Today is Autistics Speaking Day. Folks have plenty of things to say. I’ve submitted my post from October — “Isolation, Loneliness, and the Angry Aspie” for ASD. Go over to the FB page to read/submit your experiences: https://www.facebook.com/AutisticsSpeakingDay

UPDATE: I also did write a poem for ASDay. I’ve been writing poems about Helen R. Jones, a black woman born in the early 1940’s who is likely autistic (but undiagnosed). She struggles socially, is more interested in books than in fashion, and can never meet up to the expectations of her mother, who is a socialite wannabe (on a steel mill worker’s salary, no less) in the Black community of Steelville, Ohio, where Helen is born and lives out her life. Helen’s mother pressured her to suppress her flapping habit as a little girl. Helen/Aanteekwa is a fictional construct, but I think speaking about her today gives a voice to what many of us went through as teenagers…that is, feeling as an outsider. Here’s the poem, “a bright light jolted Aanteekwa awake“.

 

 

Listen to my Appearance on “The Poetic Travels on the Autism Highway” Radio Show

If you missed this past Saturday’s episode of the Poetic Travels on the Autism Hwy radio show where I was a guest, have no fear! The show, hosted by Kelly Green and Erik Estabrook, is available as an archived broadcast for your listening pleasure. We spoke about autism, poetry, creativity, activism, and a host of other topics (yes, even the J. Cole incident). You can visit their show on Blog Talk Radio and listen at:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/erikevision/2013/07/27/poetic-travels-on-the-autism-highway

I had a great time talking with the hosts and sharing my poetry, which included three selections from Novena (remixed): “Icarus”, “Meridians”, and “You Don’t See It”. I also read “Tribe”, which appeared in We’ve Been Here All Along: Autistic Over 35 Speak Out in Poetry and Prose. And don’t forget: Novena (remixed) is available August 14! More information about the new book is at my other blog, Raven’s Wing Poetry.

-Nicole

On July 27, I’m a Guest on the Poetic Travels on the Autism Hwy Radio Show

Autism HwyOn July 27, I will be a guest on the Poetic Travels on the Autism Hwy radio show, hosted on Blog Talk Radio by Kelly Green and Erik Estabrook. I will be discussing my poetry, how autism relates to my work, and performing some of my poems (including three from my upcoming chapbook, Novena (remixed)).

The show is scheduled for 4:00 PM Eastern/1:00 PM Pacific Time. The link below will take you directly to the broadcast:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/erikevision/2013/07/27/poetic-travels-on-the-autism-highway

I am honored to be a guest on their brand new show, of which this is the second broadcast. Tune in on July 27! You won’t want to miss it.

-Nicole